• On 19 April 2024, Russia carried out airstrikes using Tu-22M3 BACKFIRE C strategic bombers likely against targets in southern Ukraine. Defence Intelligence of Ukraine announced that they had shot down one of the bombers, with reports circulating online that appeared to show a single BACKFIRE losing control in the air, and subsequently crashing into a field. 
  • The Russian Ministry of Defence confirmed that a BACKFIRE had crashed and that a Search and Rescue Mission was ongoing but did not admit to the shoot-down. However, it is almost certain that reports of a S-200 missile (SA-5) being used are accurate and that this was another successful Ukrainian action against the Russian Air Force. This system is likely the same system used to shoot down a Russian A-50 MAINSTAY on 23 February 2024.
  • This is the first instance of a strategic bomber being shot down by Ukrainian Air Defence systems. It is highly likely that Russia has now sustained at least 100 fixed-wing combat aircraft losses to date.
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